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The black rockfish fishery off the coast has been excellent with anglers scoring easy limits on one of the best tasting white fish.

In this week’s seafood recipe, Chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka Kaiseki Restaurant in Seattle, shares a delectable rockfish recipe your guests will love.

Nakajima began cooking in Seattle-area Japanese restaurants in his teens, and fell in love with all aspects of restaurant life. At age 18, he moved to Osaka, Japan to learn the depth of his native culture and to attend Tsuji Culinary Arts School, one of Japan’s most prestigious.

Following graduation, Shota had the opportunity to apprentice under Michelin Star Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. When Nakajima returned to Seattle, he worked for Chef Taichi Kitamura at Sushi Kappo Tamura in 2011 and 2012.

Shota Nakajima, chef owner of Naka in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)
Shota Nakajima, chef owner of Naka in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

In 2014, he opened his own catering business, Kappo Kitchen, and that December, he won the Seattle round of the World Washoku Challenge 2014. With great anticipation from fans of his beautiful, stylized Japanese cooking, Shota opened Naka in June of 2015.

Where to catch black rockfish

Westport, La Push, Neah Bay and Ilwaco have become the hot-beds for black rockfish and lingcod during spring and summer, and when the weather cooperates it is a no-brainer for charter boats to score limits of fish.

Charters will usually head out in the mornings to catch abundant black rockfish (10-fish daily limit), and then move on to deeper waters for lingcod.

The season for both bottomfish species will continue daily through mid-October. There are shore-bound options off the Westport and Ilwaco jetties to catch black rockfish.

 

Rockfish with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients

2.5 ounces of rockfish per dish

One cherry tomato per dish

One morel mushroom per dish

Two fava beans per dish

One myoga (Japanese ginger, available at Uwajimaya and some other local Asian grocery stores)

3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon of dashi (Japanese stock broth, available at Uwajimaya and some other local Asian grocery stores)

1 ¾ teaspoons of mirin (Japanese rice wine vinegar, available at Uwajimaya and some other local Asian grocery stores)

1 ¾ teaspoons of soy sauce

(Note: The ingredients make one serving dish per person)

Preparation

1. Peel the fava beans, and cut the cherry tomato and morel mushroom in half.

2. Cut myoga in half and then thinly slice, and wash in ice water (make sure not to damage the fiber).

3. Portion the rockfish into small bite-size chunks.

4. Add the dashi, soy sauce and mirin into small pan, and let it come to a boil and remove sauce mixture from the heat.

To Finish

1. Coat the rockfish, fava beans and the morel mushroom in potato starch.

2. Deep fry the rockfish, fava beans and morel mushroom in soy bean oil at 330 degrees for about 1 minute. Shota prefers soy bean oil for its light flavor.

3. Plate the rockfish, fava beans and morel mushroom in a bowl.

4. Pour the sauce made during prep on the top of rockfish and vegetables making sure it gets all the flavors soaked in.

5. Top it off with the thinly sliced myoga.

 

Coming up

This season, esteemed local chefs will share recipes and advice on how to cook a wide variety of local seafood weekly through October.

This year’s lineup of chefs include Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; executive chef Jason Brzozowy of Maria Hines’ Tilth; executive chef Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurants; chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura; executive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho along with other chefs from El Gaucho, El Gaucho in Bellevue and The Inn at El Gaucho; Jason Wilson, executive chef and owner of Miller’s Guild and Coffee Flour; Taylor Hoang, from Pho Cyclo; Chefs Jun Takai and Yasuhiro “Yasu” Kusano at Shiro’s Sushi in Seattle’s Belltown; and Chef Megan Coombes, from Altstadt.

Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday through Nov. 2. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.